Macron Vows Vigilance on Ghosn Treatment After Wife Cries Foul

(Bloomberg) -- President Emmanuel Macron said France would remain “very vigilant” on the treatment of Carlos Ghosn in Japan after the jailed former auto titan’s wife called it shameful.

Ghosn is “entitled to the presumption of innocence and consular protection, like all French nationals,” Macron said in a statement Tuesday following a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. France respects the independence of the Japanese legal system, he added.

Carole Ghosn had earlier called on the French leader to raise the topic with Abe during their meetings to discuss issues related to upcoming Group of Seven and G-20 multilateral meetings.

“What is happening in Tokyo to my husband worries me and all those who legitimately ask for respect, equality and protection from the justice system,” she said in an emailed statement. Carlos Ghosn, a French citizen, deserves “the most basic rights to defend himself and a fair trial.”

Macron Vows Vigilance on Ghosn Treatment After Wife Cries Foul

Ghosn was first arrested in Tokyo in November and charged with financial crimes at Nissan Motor Co. The former chairman has denied the allegations, which precipitated a crisis within the car-making alliance that includes Nissan, Renault SA and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. Since Ghosn’s arrest, French ministers have regularly cited his right to the presumption of innocence and the government has provided support to Ghosn’s family through the French embassy in Tokyo.

“My husband served his country loyally and France cannot abandon him,” Carole Ghosn said the statement.

Ghosn and his lawyers have repeatedly said he’s a victim of a Nissan plot to derail the plans he was laying to deepen the alliance between Renault and the Japanese carmaker. A new indictment this week accuses Ghosn of redirecting $5 million from Nissan to his personal accounts.

Carole Ghosn has regularly denounced her husband’s prison conditions, saying he lost 15 pounds (7 kilos) and got sick during his first detention period of more than 100 days.

The latest charge follows others of transferring personal trading losses to Nissan and under-reporting his income. After Ghosn’s first arrest in November, Nissan and Renault uncovered payments made through companies in Oman and Lebanon that allegedly were used for Ghosn’s personal benefit, including for the purchase of a yacht and toward companies related to his son.

Read more: Nissan Names Yamauchi COO to Bolster Depleted Management Ranks

France on Tuesday also called on the companies to make their alliance “more solid to rise to the challenge of technology disruptions in the automotive sector.” The government reiterated its desire for a deepening of Renault-Nissan ties, while cautioning this would be up to the companies.

The French government is Renault’s most power shareholder and had pushed Ghosn to solidify the alliance as a condition for renewing his mandate at the helm of the carmaker last year. Ghosn resigned as chairman and CEO of Renault in January.

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